Medical Negligence claims
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We are specialists in medical negligence claims, supporting people to claim compensation when they have been the victim of clinical failures.
Most medical treatment will be of a high standard but sometimes mistakes happen. Often you can recover from the harm this causes, but some mistakes can have serious, long-term consequences or even end in a fatality.
If you or a loved one has had medical treatment that you suspect fell below required standards we’re here to advise you, whether it was private or NHS care.
You may be entitled to compensation to help you deal with the impact. Bringing a claim can often be a way of not only making your own life more manageable but also putting a spotlight on what happened to help to ensure others do not suffer in the same way.
Fast facts – medical negligence claims
- Medical negligence claims can be valid if you’ve not received appropriate care and this has resulted in physical or mental harm
- Proving medical negligence can be difficult and often requires specialist support
- Winning a claim leads to financial compensation – and can be a route to getting answers about what went wrong
- You usually have three years from the date of being aware of the negligence to make a claim
- If a child is harmed by medical negligence, they usually have until three years after their 18th birthday to make a claim
- There is not usually a deadline for making a medical negligence claim if the person involved has mental capacity issues (is unable to make their own decisions)
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence is what happens when medical care is not delivered to an appropriate standard.
Examples of medical negligence include:
Some examples of what constitutes medical negligence include:
● Improper treatment
● Failure to treat
● Delay in treatment
● Failure to perform an appropriate follow-up
● Prescription errors.
During a claim for medical negligence, the standard of a medical professional’s care is measured against that of his or her peers. If, when confronted with the same circumstances, ‘a significant body’ of fellow practitioners would have acted in the same way, the clinician will not be found negligent.
This is not absolute, though: if a number of alternative methods of treatment were available, even if the treatment used was supported by a body of medical practitioners, a finding of negligence may still result if its use did not stand up to logical analysis.
Claire was left incontinent after surgery and discovered she was a victim of medical negligenceMum-of-three Claire was one of 220 patients in a group action led by Enable Law for compensation claims involving former obstetrician and gynaecologist Rob Jones. Claire had tried to get answers when she suffered incontinence and health issues following a hysterectomy, but said she was made to feel she was the only one it happened to. That’s when she contacted Enable Law. She said: “Immediately I was made to feel I wasn’t on my own any more...They’ve held my hand through everything.” Claire went on to establish a support group for other patients and decided to lead media calls to ensure other victims got help too.
How much compensation will I receive for clinical negligence?
Clinical negligence damages may amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds – or more in cases where extreme harm has been done.
The amount of compensation you receive will be based on your own unique circumstances, needs and a negotiation process with the body representing the person you are claiming from. This is usually an insurance provider or NHS Resolution (the body that deals with NHS claims).
Total damages in compensation claims consist of two elements – general damages and special damages. Total damages may amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds or even more in cases where extreme harm has been done.
General damages are usually set according to tight guidelines, which limit the amount.
Special damages are often significantly more than the general damages element. The amount of special damages you will be awarded will partly depend on your solicitor. Your solicitor will need to assess and evidence all the things you need as a result of your injury in order to live as full a life as possible. This is why it is vital to have a specialist medical negligence solicitor who will consider all aspects of your current and future needs.
Below are some of the guideline amounts for general damages that could be awarded in injuries resulting from clinical negligence. You can find more general damages guidelines for other injuries on our other pages, including our serious injuries page, brain injuries and spinal injuries.
|Injury suffered as a result of medical negligence||Description of the impact of the injury||Guidelines general damages amount.
Note: Special damages will also form part of the claim and may far exceed the general damages amount.
|Loss of reproductive organs (male)||In excess of £144,420|
|Impotence||Payments at the higher end of the scale are likely to be for young men who has suffered loss of sexual function and sterility||Around £139,210|
|Female infertility||Whether by injury or disease with severe depression, anxiety, pain and scarring||£107,810 to £158,970|
|Failed sterilisation leading to an unwanted pregnancy||In cases where there is not severe psychological impact or depression||Around £9,570|
|Kidney damage to both kidneys||Involving serious or permanent damage to or loss of both kidneys
|£158,970 to £197,480|
|Loss of one kidney||£28,880 to £42,100|
|Bowel damage||The top end of this bracket covers double incontinence with other medical complications whilst the lower end is for penetrating injuries causing some permanent damage but eventual return of function. In between will be things such as faecal urgency and incontinence after surgery, usually via injury whilst giving birth||£11,820 to £172,860|
What happens when you make a claim for medical negligence?
When you make a claim for medical negligence, to begin with you’ll discuss your case with a solicitor and they’ll decide if there’s a reasonable chance of success.
It can be important to find a solicitor who is experienced in medical negligence claims, since this knowledge can help to support you throughout the process. You should feel able to ask your solicitor what will happen and when and feel confident you’ll be fully informed throughout.
Usually, the process will involve:
- A request for the release of your medical records. Being represented by a solicitor at this stage will allow you to ensure you ask for the specific records and relevant information you need
- Working with a solicitor to identify financial losses you have suffered due to the physical and/or psychological injury suffered through medical negligence
- Drafting a claim letter, submitted to the healthcare provider or NHS trust your claim involves. The letter will summarise your claim and explain the financial loss you have suffered
- A response from the healthcare provider should be sent within four months
- Further correspondence and negotiations. These could lead to an offer to settle out of court, which is very often the outcome. A court date may be agreed – this is less usual.
When you make a claim, you will be referred to as the ‘claimant’, and the person you are claiming against is the ‘defendant’.
Once instructed, your solicitor will gather evidence to show that the defendant was responsible for your injury. As well as your medical records, this will include statements, witness statements from you and your family, and reports from expert medical witnesses. In the majority of cases, defendants will prepare their own evidence.
Most medical negligence claims don’t end in a full trial, and it is unlikely that you will have to give evidence in court. The legal procedure rules encourage people to resolve claims without going to court, and the claimant and the defendant can offer to settle the claim at any point in the process. The vast majority of claims will conclude like this.
How long does it take to resolve a claim for medical negligence?
It is unusual for a clinical negligence compensation claim to be settled in less than a year.
Some smaller cases may be concluded in a matter of months, but more complex cases can take several years.
As a first step, it’s advisable to make a formal complaint to the people you think are responsible for your injury. A hospital trust will likely have a formal complaints procedure in place to clarify the process but, in all cases, complaints can be made in a formal letter explaining why you feel your treatment was negligent.
The response to a complaint can be a useful way of your solicitor finding out the potential defendant’s stance on your injury and, if you do go on to make a claim, the court will expect you to have made a complaint first.
How much does it cost to bring a clinical negligence compensation claim?
You shouldn’t need to pay a substantial amount upfront to bring a compensation claim thanks to insurance and ‘no win, no fee’ options.
There are a number of ‘no win, no fee’ style arrangements to ensure you are not left out of pocket by bringing a compensation claim.
We can talk you through all the options and will ensure you have the correct cover in place so that you do not have to be concerned about having to pay legal costs.
Where your claim is won, your legal fees will usually be paid in the main by the other party.
Do get in touch for a free initial chat to discuss this – no-one needs to be put off making a claim for fear of it costing them money. You can also find out more via our FAQs page: How will I be able to fund my claim?
Is there a time limit in which to make a clinical negligence UK claims?
Usually medical negligence claims must be brought within three years of the date of the negligent act. However, there are exceptions to this rule. In some situations, the time limits are extended: this can apply to injuries to children or those without mental capacity, and injuries of which the victim was not aware until later.
To avoid running into problems with time limits, it is advisable to approach a solicitor as early as possible.
Medical negligence in the UK - Frequently asked questions
We’re really happy to discuss any questions you have about a potential claim for medical negligence.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and allow us to guide you on whether you have a claim and how we can help you to pursue it. We can usually offer some initial guidance and advice very quickly once we know the specifics of your situation.
You can also get see answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here:
- What is clinical negligence?
- How do you prove medical negligence claims?
- Will my medical negligence claim be successful?
- How much does it cost to bring a medical negligence claim?
- Why choose Enable Law to make my medical negligence claim?
- What will I need to provide to enable a clinical negligence UK claim?
- What are the time limits for a medical negligence claim?
- How long does it take to resolve a medical negligence claim?
Excellent medical negligence knowledge combined with kindness and compassion - what our clients say about us
Enable Law is a leading clinical negligence UK specialist firm, top rated in The Chambers Directory and Legal 500.
Many members of our team are not just legal experts but also have a background in healthcare professions.
Here are two recent comments made about our service:
“Their knowledge of the particular topics is excellent, and they balance a professional approach with kindness and compassion to clients who may have had very painful and traumatic experiences.” Chambers UK
“Professional at all times, guiding me through what turned out to be a three-year process, and did not waver when the medical complexities of my case seemed overwhelming,” Legal 500.
Accredited medical negligence specialists
Enable Law is accredited as a Clinical Negligence claim specialist with the UK charity for patient safety and justice – AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents).
AvMA works with those affected by avoidable medical negligence, both to help the individual to find justice, and to promote better patient safety for everyone.
Speak to a Medical Negligence Lawyer Now
Our team of experienced medical negligence solicitors are here to help you claim vital medical compensation, no matter the reason. We will work with you to establish the circumstances of the negligence, and will always be upfront about the chances of your claim being successful.
Call us today for a free, confidential discussion of your claim.0800 044 8488